Love. Not Loss: A New Way to Talk About Biodiversity

Let’s talk about biodiversity. When you think about biodiversity, you may think of a diversity of species, but do you also think of all the ecosystem services that a biodiverse region provides? Clean air and water, medicine, and erosion prevention are just a few intrinsic benefits that human beings receive from a biodiverse region. Conserving biodiversity includes tackling big environmental issues; how we solve these problems will greatly impact how a region’s plants and animals adapt and survive. However, the way we talk about biodiversity, especially to children, does not always bring these ideas across very well. It can be alternately alarmist and ineffective. The reality is that if our current way of talking about biodiversity was effective, we wouldn’t be losing so much of it.

Fortunately, the IUCN may have a solution. The IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization and acts as a neutral place for governments, NGOs, scientists and businesses to find pragmatic environmental solutions. The IUCN tackles hundreds of conservation projects every year and wields influence with its many member organizations, even having official Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly. One of the IUCN’s committees, the Commission on Education and Communication, has recently launched a new campaign on biodiversity using positive messaging to get people engaged in the conservation message.

“Love. Not Loss” is based on the idea that inspiring awe, wonder and fascination with the power of nature is the most effective way to reach the public about the importance of biodiversity. Why is that? When people experience a memorable natural encounter as a child, that experience can be reawakened in the adult. People who got outdoors and enjoyed nature as children are more likely to be environmentally responsible adults”. This not only speaks to the power of natural experiences in childhood, but also to our ability to recall them and the emotions that they elicited years later.

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